Sunday, February 05, 2006

Liberal-Left Bloggers on the Danish Cartoon Story

Like the French riots, the Danish cartoon story excites the right and bores the left. Checking the portside of the blogosphere, I found no mention of the story since Thursday from James Wolcott, Atrios, Pandagon, Firedoglake, Digby, Matthew Yglesias, Daily Howler, Bullmoose, Eric Alterman or NewDonkey. I found one post from Oliver Willis and one from georgia 10 on the Kos blog (I didn’t check the diaries or comments). Joshua Michael Marshall has a long, thoughtful post and several reader emails on the subject. Willis, Georgia 10 and Marshall all find an equivalence between Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists, which strikes me as unfair in this context; Christians don’t call for the beheading of blasphemers.

On Friday Kevin Drum had trouble taking the issue seriously because the Islamic radicals were burning the Danish flag:

I fully realize that I should be taking this more seriously — it involves issues of free speech, national sovereignty, gratuitous religious insults, Islamic radicalism, etc. etc. — but it's hard. I mean, just look at whose flag they're burning in the Middle East right now: Denmark's.

Cuddly little Denmark! Home of Hans Christian Andersen, delicious pastry, and tasteful furniture. Home of Tivoli and the Little Mermaid. Denmark!

On Sunday he wrote:

…a reader wants to know what my serious take is on the Danish cartoon affair. Here it is: I think the press has an absolute right to print those cartoons. But you knew that already.

Huffington Post has one blog post on the subject from Thomas De Zengotita that shows confusion from the progressives on the issue:

My question is: where do American progressives stand on this? In one way, we have looked to Europe as an ally against Bush and all he stands for in Iraq and the "War on Terror," right? Haven't we felt supported every step of the way by European countries condemning those policies? Hasn't there been a sort of agreement about Bush, that primitive cowboy, the Europeans agree with us and we with them, about that, us enlightened ones together? But don't we also conveniently forget that, for example, France won't let Muslim school girls go to school with head scarves? That's just one example of actual European responses to Islam that don't quite fit with our multicultural version of what "progressive" means. Are we busy avoiding that whole side of this issue? For good tactical reasons, of course.

So, without going on and on analyzing the dilemma, let me sum it up with this way; will progressive American publications republish those cartoons? If they do, how will they explain it? If they don't, how will they explain it?

Juan Cole has the most classic leftist take on the issue I have read yet. Among other things, he writes,

Of course people are upset when their sacred figures are attacked! But the hurt is magnified many times when the party doing the injuring is first-world, and the injured have a long history of being ruled, oppressed and marginalized.

His final paragraph sums up his multiculturalist approach:

Human beings are all alike. Where they are distinctive, it comes out of a special set of historical circumstances. The Muslims are protesting this incident vigorously, and consider the caricatures insupportable. We would protest other things, and consider them insupportable.

UPDATE: I thank Michelle Malkin for linking to this post.


Stephen said...

Shameless self-promotion: I consider myself a "liberal-left" blogger (against the Iraq war, for gay marriage, etc.), and I find the attacks on free speech utterly horrifying. Post here.

Katherine Aren said...

Good roundup, I particularly like this quote, which you found on Huffington Post, "My question is: where do American progressives stand on this?"

I mean, they actually have to ask?? Yes! I understand it but the profundity of ignorance is brutally powerful here. You see it, you react. That is the normal standard for individual behavior. Progressives, I will presume, see things, wonder what they mean, because things never mean what they seem, and then look to others to define the issue for them - like... Europe. Wonderful stuff. I'm going to post this stuff myself, thanks for finding it. I will link back to you.

spcoon said...

maybe everybody should try a simple exercise: step back for a moment and try to understand that certain people hold certain things sacred, things that you might not.

if you spit in someone's face, they might have a different reaction than you would if the situation was reversed. some react physically, some turn the other cheek.

respect is a much more core human concept than "freedom of the press."

i'm not condoning a violent reaction to these cartoons, but if one didn't expect a certain percentage of Islam to react as such, especially in these times, one is being disingenuous... or simply has not read up on religious doctrine, specifically Islam.

so in a nutshell, i say fanning the fire by republishing the images under the guise of "freedom of press" is complete bullshit.

zama202 said...

Here is another moonbat blog for you:

This is a libertarian who claims to be influenced by Rand. However, he has condemned her as a warmonger. (Why am I not suprised.) What you will find interesting about his blog is that he demonstrates the essence of the leftist, anti-American philosophy with his every post. In every issue he takes the side against the aggressive self-assertion of the United States. And he does this in the name of reason.

The libertarians make the leftists look like hawks. Not in one post will you find anything about the evil of Islam. Its simply amazing.

Dr. Dawg said...

Here are a couple of commentaries.

The Oz Report said...

I posted the cartoons to become a target so that the currenbt targets could sustain less damage.

Davis Straub
Cathedral City, CA, USA

EdMcGon said...

spcoon, I will NOT tolerate Islam's views if they will not tolerate mine. If they will not respect our freedom of the press, I am more than delighted to wave it in front of their collective faces.

zama202, that sounds more like a liberal pretending to be a libertarian. Don't compare all libertarians to this one.

ScienceDave said...

Nonsense. Freedom of the press is in fact held in higher esteem since it is enshrined in law, which presumes that such freedom needs protection from those who would shut the presses down if the pressmen didn't show 'respect'.

The point: freedom to be who the hell ever you want to be means that everybody else gets that freedom, and for that milieu to persist, we have to settle things with words and demonstrations and not violence. To live in a western country, you have to assimilate this idea, or end up deported or jailed.

I support people marching in the street, writing letters, drawing counter cartoons, and cancelling subscriptions. I categorically denounce as unacceptable the violence, liberal and multicultural shibboleths be damned.